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Posts tagged "Hipster"


I Wanna Know What Hipness Is

TOP-Hipper-CoverI recently re-discovered a band that loomed over my childhood. Tower of Power, a brass-based soul-funk big band explosion used to make an annual headline performance each summer at the San Mateo County Fair when I was growing up. The band was local, from Oakland, which is across the Bay. As is often the case, lyrics of songs that washed over me when I was too young to understand often blow me away when I hear them again for the first time as a grown man.

Take for instance “What Is Hip” from Power’s Hipper Than Hip (Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow) LP. The song could almost be a riff on the collect for the fifth Sunday in Lent (or the Fourth Sunday after Easter, depending on which Prayer Book you’re looking at): “Grant unto thy people that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found.”

Power is tapping into the same idea on Hipper Than Hip, asking what actually is hip anyway (I wanna know). It’s really a perennial question, observation, and reality check. During a time when it seems everyone is an indie hipster creative, we ought to allow “What Is Hip” to live a second life. Watch this amazing recording of Lenny Williams leading the band in a live(ly) performance of the song on Don Cornelius’s Soul Train—hey, people all over the world, remember Soul Train!? Watch, listen, pay attention to the lyrics, and be convicted of your need for Jesus because “sometimes hipness is, what it ain’t.”

What is hip
Tell me, tell me, if you think you know
What is hip
If you’re really hip
The passing years will show
You’re into a hip trip
Maybe hipper than hip
What is hip

Another Week Ends: This American Life's 500th, Dustin Hoffman's Female Perspective, Midlife Crises, Man-Children, Spitzer, and Chickens

Another Week Ends: This American Life’s 500th, Dustin Hoffman’s Female Perspective, Midlife Crises, Man-Children, Spitzer, and Chickens

1) Heather Havrilesky, at it again, this time over at Aeon. Writing from the perspective of a “successful” middle-ager, she describes how nothing can really be enough nowadays. The avenues for comparison are as numerous as the avenues for self-expression. She has this to say about her own experiences:

This is the shape my mid-life crisis is taking: I’m worried about what I have time to accomplish before I get too old to do anything. I’m fixated on what my life should look like by now. I’m angry at myself, because I should look better, I should be in better shape,…

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Who Will Deliver Us From Dumpster Dairy? Portlandia and the Narcissism of Small Differences

Who Will Deliver Us From Dumpster Dairy? Portlandia and the Narcissism of Small Differences

A wonderful profile of Sleater-Kinney guitarist/Portlandia co-creater Carrie Brownstein appeared in The New Yorker last month. We’ve championed the IFC sketch comedy series Portlandia consistently since it debuted last year and with good reason. Browstein and creative partner/SNL mainstay Fred Armisen have a lock on identity satire. They intuitively understand the absurdity of most identity markers (diet, image, art, even activism), and how deceptively the slide into self-justification can happen. In our parlance, you might say they have a firm grasp on how identity and Law often function as synonyms. In fact, more than anything Portlandia seems to enjoy unveiling…

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A Reading from the Hipster Bible

The Church of Cool

The Church of Cool

You may have seen Brett McCracken’s excellent editorial in the Wall Street Journal recently, “The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity.” McCracken is the author of Hipster Christianity, a surprisingly controversial new book we’ve referenced on here before. So many folks have forwarded the article to me that I’m not sure whether to be flattered or concerned…! He writes:

“Increasingly, the [evangelical church’s] “plan” has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called “the emerging church”—a sort of postmodern stab…

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Another Week Ends: Perfomance Reviews, Zimmermania, Godzilla, Reasonability, WASPs, Hipster Xianity, Arcade Fire

Another Week Ends: Perfomance Reviews, Zimmermania, Godzilla, Reasonability, WASPs, Hipster Xianity, Arcade Fire

1. A fascinating piece over at NY Times titled “Time To Review Work Reviews?” Filled to the brim, as one might imagine, with Law-related gems (ht SZ).

Annual reviews not only create a high level of stress for workers, [Dr. Samuel Culbert, clinical psychologist and author of the new Get Rid Of The Performance Review!] argues, but end up making everybody — bosses and subordinates — less effective at their jobs. 

Mark Shahriary, president and chief executive of Lucix Corporation in Camarillo, Calif., said he stopped doing performance reviews after witnessing the emotional havoc they created for workers at…

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